Why would you Even Meal Prep your Food?


So, my life is back to super busy, as I’m sure all of you are experiencing as well!  Whether you’re a student, working, have a family of your own (or knowing lots of you – doing all three!) life is busy and can get stressful.  Eliminate the stress and time factor of having to scrounge to find something appropriate at each lunch-time and having to cook every single night by meal prepping!  It saves you time in the kitchen and helps keep you on track with healthy eating!  You can prep and plan for just dinners, for lunch and dinner, or even all three main meals of the day and snacks too!  The amount of prep you do, depends on how much time you have to dedicate to prepping and your personal preferences.

I prep my lunches for the week, cut up my veggies for snacks, as well as all my dinners for the week.  At different times, I’ve prepped my breakfasts as well but I seem to have a bit more time in the mornings to make it now that the boys are a bit bigger.

So what exactly is meal prepping?  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, essentially it is planning and prepping your meals in advance for the week.  This means cooking items in bulk and eating leftovers!  For those of you who just groaned and are turned off to the thought of left overs, listen up, I used to hate left overs when I was younger, well actually up until I was at uni!  Now I rejoice in their existence and you should too!  Left overs are a wondrous time saver!

If prepping and planning can stop you eating off track and keeping you eating good wholesome and nutritious food one extra time each week – that’s a fantastic result and will certainly help you on your way to your goals faster!

And no, I’m not ‘preparing’ for anything special at the moment. Not competing, no shoots booked any time soon. This is just my life. And meal prepping is a life-hack I’ve really grown to enjoy and see the benefits of.

What do you do to keep your weeks prepped and ready to enjoy?

With hugs I prepared earlier,

Bella

What’s up?

Yeah yeah, I know. Long time no writey.

Life has been busy. Wonderful but busy.

I’m setting new goals. It’s hard for me as I have really enjoyed the not being held to a strict time-dependent goal the way that competing is. Essentially, comp prep is “look AMAZING and LEAN in xx weeks or you will be an utter embarrassment”.

That’s pretty strong motivation.

There is an INBA show in 19 weeks.

  • I’m in a frame of mind where I don’t mind the dieting.
  • I’m enjoying my training
  • I have some bad-ass coaches
  • I feel like my body is capable of doing what I want of it.

BUT:

  • It’s a lot of pressure
  • I have a lot on with 2 jobs, 2 businesses, 2 kids, 1 husband and A LOT TO DO
  • My body is notorious for just packing up and falling apart when I stress too much.

SO:

All I can do is run it down. Try as hard as I can, staying as mentally balanced as I can and see where 19 weeks gets me.

Who’s keen to follow along? There’s no promises that it will always be pretty, or that I’ll get where I want to be in time – but I promise it will be real.

Weekly check-in is in 2 hours – eeeeeeep!

Love.

Bella

Yes – I’m doing the 12WBT … Yes – I’m happy to talk about it.

Long time, no post. Sorry peeps. Life gets crazy. So… what the heck have I been up to lately? The answer is A LOT.

So much. But for now, this is the news:

I don’t make any secret of the fact that I followed the 12WBT program when I first started losing weight. It worked for me. It worked in baby steps to help me make better food decisions, to move a little more and and to feel more confident.

I had lost about 35kg with the program before I chose to leave some parts of the program so I could follow a ‘bodybuilder’ diet in order to compete. I kept many other parts of the program and in essence, a lot of what I learned I couldn’t forget if I tried. I’d managed to build a new network of friends all over the country who loved and supported my fitness endeavours and supported me in whatever I did.

I’m open about the fact I eat still in an IIFYM manner. IIFYM stands for If It Fits Your Macros. What that means for me is that I track and alter the levels of protein, fats and carbohydrates that my food comes from. I alter those levels depending on what I am trying to achieve. At the moment, I’m really focussing on getting stronger so that’s what I eat towards.

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I was asked to take part in the 12WBT 2015 advertising campaign and it was an honour to accept. I do still believe in the program and the way it is delivered. I feel it has improved A LOT since I first became a member in 2011. I appreciate any business that is prepared to constantly evaluate, listen to science and reason and EVOLVE not because they HAVE to (12WBT’s format has remained crazily popular) but because they WANT to keep improving. Which is exactly what they have done.

So, as part of my involvement with the program – I will be a card-carrying member of the February 4th round of the 12 Week Body Transformation. I will do the tasks that are set for all members (yes, even the ghastly running!) and am super happy to be available to chat, support and encourage other members both new and returning. And yes, the new program is so customisable that I will be staying true to my IIFYM beliefs, accommodating my food intolerances AND still training for mega heavy lifting too!

As well as blogging more, I’ve invited more current 12WBT members to come and guest-blog here so you can hear weight-loss and fitness experiences from people other than me. It’s going to be a fun trip!

If you’d like to know more about the program or even join, there are 4 days left until it all kicks-off and you can read about it here -CLICK ME-

So ask me questions. And I will answer them. Honestly.

In case you missed any of them, here are a couple of my pics from the 2015 12WBT campaign too!

Also – to make sure you aren’t missing out on any of my adventure, feel free to follow me on

Leave me a comment if you are on board too!

Much love and let the adventure begin!!

Bella

Bella Bellaafter

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Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms – Crazy Easy, Crazy Tasty!

I’m not a great cook. If it has more than five ingredients or more than five steps in the recipe I can be pretty confident I’ll make a mess of it!

The issue is, that I love food. Argh, so I spend my life looking for ridiculously easy, tasty recipes that also need to fit my particular/perculiar dietary needs (many intolerances and preferences for high protein foods).

Well, these were a total winner!

Stuffed Portobello Mushroomspotrobello-700

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  • Spray 1 large portobello cap lightly with a good quality olive oil.
    In a bowl, shred/grate 1 small zucchini and toss with about 1/3 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta.
  • Place mixture inside mushroom and bake until mushroom is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  • Approx 230 calories!

Enjoy!

Bella

What I learned about myself from a DEXA scan…

Sometimes I choose not to blog things. Sometimes because I am too busy to write. Sometimes because I don’t think whatever it is is interesting enough to interrupt people with. And sometimes, it’s simply stuff I don’t want you to know.

Yep. I got secrets. Sorry.

So when I preemptively told the blog-o-sphere that I was having a DEXA scan, I sort of set myself up to NOT be able to do that. Which kinda sucks.

To clarify, the whole reason I wanted the scan was I know that I need to move away from the significant obsession I have with weighing myself at least once a day. I do KNOW it’s a bad idea, not a great reflection of my body composition and can’t really be trusted to give me accurate information. In fact, Cathy knows my level of pain with the scale and tagged me in this post on IG during the DEXA day:

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So I had the scan. I had it done at the University of Tasmania sports science unit. To be fair, the scientist did advise me that it was a very old machine and not capable of the type of information that modern DEXA units are. I still was a little taken aback at the sheer age of the thing. It looked like it was made in the 70’s from a factory conveyer belt and my Grandad’s camera. Fo Realz.

The UTas DEXA is older than this model and not in quite as good condition. Notice the natty computer it runs off.

The UTas DEXA is older than this model and not in quite as good condition. Notice the natty computer it runs off.

Also different is the level of information you get back from a modern DEXA. I was hoping for detailed information about the specific location of body fat held, but sadly this model was only capable of averages per limb and the trunk. You don’t get a print out of the information, but a written summary of what the operator interpreted from the scan. Even my sports scientist wrote though there was some ambiguity in the scan and the results may have been skewed in certain aspects.

But hey, enough blaming the equipment.

I came in at just over 32% bodyfat.

Huh. 32%.

In all honesty – I was expecting 25-26%. I would have been annoyed but understood 27-29% and would have been stoked with anything under 25%.

Nope. The machine in all it’s science-y wisdom says 32.4%.

I waited to feel crushingly sad. I put my polite face on, paid the man and walked to the car in the eerie drizzling rain, wondering if I was going to cry. I sent a message to a friend letting her know what it had come back as and said that I might cry. But I wasn’t crying. Not even close.

I sent a message to The Captain. I had promised him that getting a DEXA would end ‘the crazy’, which is the umbrella term we use for just about anytime I talk about my weight or size based on ridiculous perceptions I have of myself.

Message read:

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Being the awesome husband that he is, he offered to come out and hang out with me for awhile. He knows this stuff can knock me about a bit. But still, I was fine.

Not quite fine enough to leave it alone though…..

I mentioned in my previous post that I have in recent times been using an Inbody scanner to do a electrical bio-impedance measure of weight, muscle mass and body fat. So….

I drove straight to the gym and did another one. To compare apples with apples. As best I could.

On scan 2 months ago exactly I came up as – having 31.6kg muscle mass and 28.7% Body fat.

Yesterday – 33.2kg muscle mass and 23.8% Body fat

So, what did that experiment tell me? That comparing data from the same machine with conditions as similar as I could (same time, similar clothing etc) showed that I was heading in the direction I need to.

AND – because I want a third and independent non-scale reference point – I have an appointment to have my body fat read with calipers next week.

But what did I LEARN from today?

That peace of mind for me in not in the numbers. Not even in the better numbers from the InBody scan. It doesn’t put my soul at rest. It doesn’t make my life easier or even really validate my feelings about the work I put in being worth it. I wish it did. Some part of me really, really wants to cling to data to tell me it’s all okay. Numbers are part of a sport that I really enjoy. Transforming your body in incremental steps is far easier to celebrate when you know the height you need to climb and the progress you make each week. That’s going to be the ongoing struggle.

But at the very end of the day, hanging out at home, I kept coming back to the idea of what I wanted to know from this whole exercise. I wanted a non-scale baseline where I could come back and reference this point in the preparation in three, six, twelve months and know then what I’d been doing for my body.

It was never going to tell me if I was happy with myself. Only I can do that.

So I did. Stripped down, no make-up, at the end of the day with 4 litres of water and 1900 calories in my belly – this is me.

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This is me. At 32.4% Body Fat. Or 23.8%, depending on who you ask. Look at that smile and ask me if I care 🙂

And if this is 32.4% body fat, or 23.8% body fat or 40% body fat – I’m pretty darn okay with where I am.

Yes, I want to grow and develop and be lean and have a physique that others aspire to. But feck it – I’m strong, happy and healthy and capable of doing anything I want.

And I want to continue on this fun-filled adventure of eating lots and well, lifting heavy things and generally living life like a boss without guilt or shame or feeling like I am supposed to be anything other than where I am.

So yes, I’m going to change. I’m happy to be open and honest with you about the road and the fact it’s not going to be easy, and sometimes not pretty. And yes, there will be more scans, and tests, and weigh-ins.

But what did I actually LEARN from the DEXA. I learned that I’m okay. I’m better than okay, I’m good. And that I don’t need a machine to tell me that.

Beep. Boop. Beep.

Night all!
SV

Waitin’ on the Next Big Thing

Let me share with you one of my flaws. It annoys the hell out of me, but at least I know that I do it – and that makes me pretty good at catching myself doing it and spying it in other people.

No, it’s not endlessly complaining about the weather. Or interuppting. Or standing in doorways chatting holding up people trying to get through. People find those things adorable right? Right??

Huh.

It’s my habit of wanting to wait for THE NEXT BIG THING. That shiny new thing that I’m going to see/have/do next. Now, wanting something big and new is not a bad thing. But the trouble is that I sometimes lose focus on the thing I’m doing right now.

Take my nutrition approaches. At the moment, I’m working at gradually leaning down again, managing my food intolerances and still using and enjoying the flexible dieting/IIFYM approach. It’s good. It’s working for me. I’m happy and the weight is coming off, muscle staying on and I’m feeling good. BUT…. buh buh baaaa

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I’m going to a seminar at the end of this month that will be about fat loss in the female figure athletes and competitors and I’m fascinated to hear the approach of the pro’s that are presenting. I find myself second-guessing my planning for TODAY, sneaking a few extra carb macros and losing a bit of my focus on the NOW because “I’ll probably change it all again next week”.

And it doesn’t need to be something as big as a full nutrition change. Sometimes I feel like this when I’ve ordered a new product online and I’m just waiting for it to be delivered. I won’t train legs tonight as my new tights will probably get delivered tomorrow! :p Or when I know I’m coming up to a program change for my gym sessions. Suddenly, my ‘right now’ is less shiny and important that the new whatever-it-is around the corner.

It’s a common issue for my fellow 12wbt alumni and current members for ‘between rounds’. Two weeks off turns into four kilos gained because ‘it hasn’t started yet’.

Grr.

So I can’t give authentic advice here as it’s still very much a glitch in my own journey. I own that couple of days with silly lapses and am right back onto today’s goals and aims. But with each mistake I make, it gets easier to see and feel myself holding out. Making less of today because of the promise of tomorrow.

So do the best you can with everyday – even if tomorrow promises to be bigger, better, bright or even just completely different. Like another of my favourite Roosevelt quotes (from Teddy this time though):


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Tomorrow is another day, let’s make today awesome first!

Cheers Mateys,
SV

Shoulders like Boulders! Come and play in June

 

June – who wants to get sculpted with me? I do know it’s high reps by the end, but it’s a bit of fun 🙂
If you are keen on making it the month for accountability and high-rep strength building, you’ll also find great 30 day challenges for abs and butts on Instagram!

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